Relic of St. Jude is coming to Peoria parish on Feb. 6

Photo Caption: This image of the silver reliquary bearing the forearm of St. Jude Thaddeus is from the website of the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus at St. Pius V Parish in Chicago.

St. Jude Church in Peoria will host a first class relic of its patron saint for a Blessing Mass and veneration on Thursday, Feb. 6. Father Michail Ford, OP, will celebrate the Mass at 7 p.m. in the church, 10811 N. Knoxville Ave.

This is the first time the relic, the forearm of St. Jude Thaddeus, will be presented in Peoria. It is believed to be the largest known relic of an Apostle outside of Rome.

In addition to offering an opportunity for veneration, the liturgy will include a blessing with St. Jude oil.

Encased in a silver reliquary, the forearm of St. Jude is permanently housed at the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus at St. Pius V Parish in Chicago. The shrine is a ministry of the Dominican Friars, Central Province.

St. Jude was the brother of St. James the Lesser and one of the early disciples of Jesus. He is often depicted — as he is at St. Jude Church in Peoria — with a flame over his head as a reminder that he was present with the other Apostles when the Holy Spirit descended on them at Pentecost.

He was buried temporarily in Mesopotamia after being martyred in Syria in the first century, but was eventually placed in a crypt underneath St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The relic of his forearm was kept in Armenia for many centuries before being taken to Smyrna, Turkey, and then to Turin, Italy. It was presented to the Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus in Chicago in 1949, on the 20th anniversary of the shrine’s dedication to St. Jude.

Last November, the Diocese of Peoria hosted a relic of Blessed John Paul II — a vial of his blood encased in a gold Book of the Gospels. Hundreds of adults and students came to venerate the first class relic at St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel at the Spalding Renewal Center in Peoria and John Paul II Catholic Newman Center in Normal.

At that time, Msgr. James Kruse, vicar general of the Diocese of Peoria, explained that “relics are a way for us to be connected to our holy brothers and sisters.”

Veneration of a relic should not be confused with offering adoration or worship, which is due only to God, he said in an Oct. 13, 2013 column in The Catholic Post.

“Veneration is the honoring, cherishing, respecting and devotion of heart given to the saints,” Msgr. Kruse said. “This veneration flows from our admiration of the saint’s holy life and their life with God.”

A first class relic is a part of a saint’s body. A second class relic is something that was personally used or owned by the saint. A third class relic is an item touched to a first class or second class relic.

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